By Patrick Maguire
Israeli Jews fell silent for Yom HaShoah as the nation paused to remember the 6 million Jews that died in the Holocaust.
Commemorations began on Wednesday evening and continue through Thursday, with the country coming to a near total standstill as sirens marked a two minutes’ silence at 10am.
Restaurants, shops, and places of entertainment are closed by law and television and radio stations are broadcasting special programming about the genocide.
The theme of this year’s reflection is ‘The Anguish of Liberation and the Return to Life: 70 Years since the end of World War II’, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a speech at Yad Vashem to liken Iran to Nazi Germany.
Both Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin attended a special ceremony at the museum, and laid wreaths.
The Prime Minister said: “As the Nazis sought to stamp out civilisation and to set the master race to rule across the earth… while wiping out the Jewish people, so does Iran seek to control the region, spread outwards and destroy the Jewish state”.
He added: “Has the world really learned from the incomprehensible universal and Jewish tragedy of the previous century?”
“Democratic governments made a momentous mistake before World War II and we, along with many of our neighbours, are convinced that a bitter mistake has also been made now.”